By: Hertha Ekandjo
Deputy minister of agriculture, water and land reform Anna Shiweda says shared water can boost confidence and trust among nations and communities.
Shiweda said this on Tuesday during a National Workshop on Namibia’s accession process to the Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes in Windhoek.
According to Shiweda, Namibia envisions gaining new insights for enhanced transboundary cooperation, conflict prevention and regional stability.
“When water is equitably shared, it can become a confidence and trust-building measure between nations and people,” she said.
She explained that Namibia’s undertaking to the Convention has become vital as water diplomacy is increasingly becoming a cornerstone for transboundary water management.
“This is not only to avoid harm to others but also to benefit each other.”
She said transboundary water cooperation is one of the mechanisms to ensure that water is not a source of conflict but a symbol of partnership.
She further stated that countries can realise the benefits of cooperating in the management of water resources through water diplomacy.
Shiweda added that the pressure on freshwater is rising with climate change, pollution, and the growing water demand, contributing to water insecurity globally.
“We have no doubt that by acceding to the water convection, Namibia will strengthen her capacity and add additional tools in catalysing change towards water and peace nexus,” said Shiweda.
In this vein, she said the ministry calls on the nation’s support in making Namibia’s accession to the water convention a reality.
She further added that the workshop’s objectives are for Namibians to engage in the water convention and identify its benefits for the country.
At the same event, United Nations Namibia resident coordinator Sen Pang said that water has become one of the critical factors of sustainable development.
Pang said that UN Namibia is also implementing the Groundwater Resources in Transboundary Aquifers (GGRETA) project in support of the Stampriet Transboundary Aquifer System (STAS) 4 between Namibia, Botswana and South Africa.
The project addresses key targets of reforming legal, policy and institutional arrangements while strengthening capacity and implementing collective measures.
“Our interventions are aimed to put in place strong measures to spur economic and social development, particularly for the disadvantage Namibians, while ensuring that environmental integrity is sustained for future generations,” he expressed.
Furthermore, the secretary of the Water Convention, Sonja Koeppel, said that water is necessary for health and life.
According to her, this is even more evident in dry countries such as Namibia.
“60 per cent of all water resources worldwide are shared between two or more countries. Namibia shares all her perennial rivers with neighbouring countries and is both a midstream and downstream country,” she said.
Koeppel said transboundary water cooperation is crucial for peace, sustainable development and human well-being.
Adding that, the water convention helps countries to address challenges.
“It also strengthens national water management and transboundary cooperation. It offers a global platform to bring forward your concerns, challenges and good practices,” said Koeppel.
She concluded that as the current chair of the African Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW) Namibia, the country has a vital role in promoting transboundary water cooperation and the water convention at the continental level and towards the 2023 UN-Water conference.